Magazine article Online

In Your Dreams

Magazine article Online

In Your Dreams

Article excerpt

1998 was the year I surrendered to the Borg. My most recent book publisher dragged me-a WordPerfect loyalist since version 4.2 for DOS-kicking and kvetching, into the feature-bloated world of Word. Then, like a sign from the universe, my trusty old PowerBook went flaky-a long, gruesome techsupport story, and not the poor beast's fault. My new Windows (sigh) laptop came bundled with PowerPoint and Excel, two Microsoft apps I'd previously resisted.

But Microsoft didn't stop at my desktop. It appears-alert the Justice Department!-to have invaded my subconscious as well. Since we're all such close and trusted friends here, I'll share with you a couple of excerpts from my dream journal:

Episode 1

One day I notice that a new neighbor has moved in, right on the rocks below my ocean-front house. For some reason he doesn't have a home himself; he's just camped there. The surf doesn't wash him away or seem to bother him at all. This doesn't strike me as odd. I invite him over for coffee. He turns out to be Bill Gates. He hangs out with us a lot, and ends up moving in.

Episode 2

I'm walking on the beach, and I notice that the waves are behaving strangely. Instead of rounding up and cresting, rolling in and ebbing when they hit the shore, these waves form into squared-off channels, like a right-angled rain gutter or a downspout cut in half down the middle. The length of the channels as they form and come ashore is perpendicular to the coastline; as each wave comes in, the water-channels hold their shape and burrow deeper into the sand.

You don't have to be a psychoanalyst to interpret the one about Bill G. moving into my house. In effect, he had. As for those oddly-shaped waves, my first take was: Dang, Janet Reno is right; the man has the power to reshape the seas. Upon reflection, though, I realized: Channels. Of course. Sometimes the subconscious is more literal than you expect. Mr. Bill, through Windows 98 and its Internet-desktop integration, seeks to channel the ocean of online content. What a mundane theme for a dream.

Channels are the 1998 version of subject catalogs. Whether it's search engines like Infoseek and Excite with their consumer-oriented Autosto-Travel classifications, Yahoo's more scholarly Arts & Humanitiesto-Society & Culture approach, the Argus Clearinghouse, and other venerable, pre-venture-capital Net guides-it all harks back, through Dialog OneSearch categories and LEXIS-NEXIS group files, to Dewey and LC. …

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